During the time the Expedition was preparing to leave New York, China was in turmoil. Yuan Shi-kai was president of the Republic, but the hope of his heart was to be emperor of China. For twenty years he had plotted for the throne; he had been emperor for one hundred miserable days; and now he was watching, impotently, his dream-castles crumble beneath his feet. Yuan was the strong man of his day, with more power, brains, and personality than any Chinese since Li-Hung Chang. He always had been a factor in his political world.